In 1957, Grandview, Mo., was nothing more than a little town that sat on the outskirts of Kansas City. Surrounded by corn fields and boasting only a few retail shops, Grandview was a stop in the road with only 600 people content to live in a quiet town.
But things were changing. Rumors were flying that a four-lane highway would be built, running right through Grandview to connect Kansas City with all points south. In addition, Grandview sat only a few miles southwest of the metropolitan area’s fastest growing region – Ruskin Heights. The working class flocked to Ruskin Heights, which boasted the first housing development of its kind in the area. Families, who were enjoying new prosperity following World War II, were eager to buy the 1950s ranch homes and start new lives for themselves in the suburbs.
In July 1957, the Jackson County Advocate ran a story that the Augustana Lutheran Synod, which no longer exists, had purchased three acres on Grandview’s High Grove Road. The newspaper said plans called for a church on a location, which sat east of Grandview’s main streets in an area yet to be developed. Along with this news, the Ruskin Heights area was already home to a growing American Lutheran Church, headed by a conservative theologian.
Grandview itself had only three strong churches: Baptist, Methodist and Episcopalian.
As for Missouri Synod Lutheran churches, the only Lutheran church close to Grandview was Peace Lutheran, near 87th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard. In 1957, it was only 3 years old, so many Lutherans living in the Grandview area drove a little further for worship services, attending Calvary Lutheran at 75th and Oak streets or Immanuel Lutheran at 42nd and Tracy streets.
Talks began about the need to establish a congregation in the little southern suburb of Grandview with Kansas City’s Lutheran Mission Association leading the discussion. The LMA existed for the sole purpose of establishing churches and to provide chaplains to area hospitals, and its members saw the clear need for a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Grandview.
Thus, on the evening of Sept. 18, 1957, Pastors Clem Mehl and Howard Barth called a meeting at Calvary Lutheran to explore the possibility of a new church in Grandview. Fifteen people responded to the call: Roger Gibson; Cozie and Vic Haase; Evelyn and Paul Maty; Roy Meyer; Shirley and Leo Schlesselman; Elda and Perry Thomas; Julia and Keith Thompson; Mrs. Gordan Wisner; and Anna Ruth and Dave Wooden.
These Christians were members at Peace, Calvary or Immanuel Lutheran churches in Kansas City or were still members at their “home” congregations. Many had come to the city from rural areas to find jobs and had kept their membership at “home.”
On Oct. 6, 1957 – only two and a half weeks after the initial meeting – the first service was held at the Grandview Community Hall on Main Street. Nearly 100 people attended, and the groundwork for Holy Trinity Lutheran was in place.